Catch Her If You Can! (2nd Grade)

K, 1, 2

Learners will illustrate how Jackie Joyner-Kersee is a motivator, both as an athlete and a philanthropist. She demonstrated acts of kindness for the common good through building youth centers across the nation.

PrintOne Sixty-Minute or Two Thirty-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • define athlete as someone who participates in sports.
  • define common good.
  • define philanthropy as giving of one’s time, talent and/or treasure for the common good.
  • define philanthropist as a person who gives of his or her time, talent or treasure and takes action for the common good.
  • identify Jackie Joyner-Kersee as a philanthropist.
  • The book Jackie Joyner-Kersee: Record Breaking Runner (see Bibliographic References)
  • Chalkboard and chalk
  • Drawing paper, crayons, markers, colored pencils

Draw yourself when you are grown up. What would you like to say to your grown-up self?

  • Burby, Liza N. Jackie Joyner-Kersee: Record Breaking Runner.  New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 1997. ISBN: 0-8239-5064-6


  1. Anticipatory Set: Ask, “How many of you like to run and jump? It’s fun! Do you know what an athlete is? (A person who participates in sports) Do you know any athletes?” Allow children time to share stories to further the understanding of the athlete concept. Be sure that they include people in the community or the school.

  2. Explain that the class will read a book about a famous athlete. Read Jackie Joyner-Kersee: Record Breaking Runner.

  3. After the story write the word “philanthropy” on the board. Under the word write three large Ts. Say the word philanthropy several times having the students repeat it. Ask, “Does anyone remember what this big word means? Prompt students if necessary by saying, “It means giving of your time (point to one T), talent (point to the next T) and/or treasure (point to the last T).”

  4. Check for understanding of common good and community. Prompt students in remembering the definitions if necessary. Ask students if they think Jackie Joyner-Kersee did anything for the common good.

  5. Help the students understand Jackie Joyner-Kersee as a philanthropist. Refer back to Jackie Joyner-Kersee: Record Breaking Runner (see Bibliographic References). She built a Youth Center in her hometown (E. St. Louis, Illinois) so that children would have a place to study and play. She gives money to cities so they can build places where kids can play sports. These centers are Nonprofit organizations – no individuals make money from them. Jackie Joyner-Kersee wants to do this because when she was a child she played sports in a community center like the ones she helps cities build now.

  6. Ask the learners to name what they would like to be when they grow up. Explain that today Mrs. Joyner-Kersee goes all over the United States giving speeches. One of the things she says to the audience is, “The only person who can stop you from reaching your goals is you!” Distribute paper and ask the learners to draw a picture of them doing what they want to do when they grow up. Put the quotation on the top of each picture. Display the posters in a display case or in the hall as a reminder to other students that they must work to achieve their goals.

Cross Curriculum 

Student explore their own talents and interests to find ways to help others.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.1 Give examples of philanthropic traditions of diverse cultures.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define and give examples of civil society sector corporations.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.